Northerners celebrate International Women's Day

Community groups across the North celebrate women Saturday, with wellness fairs in Whitehorse and an awards ceremony in Yellowknife.

Wise Women Awards in Yellowknife; wellness fair to be held in Whitehorse Saturday;

Community groups across the North are celebrating International Women's Day Saturday.

​​In Yellowknife, the Status of Women Council of the N.W.T. hosted its 23rd-annual Wise Women Awards. 

Dawn Lacey of Yellowknife was one of the original people to receive a Wise Women Award in 1993. Since then, she's gone to every awards ceremony to sing "Bread and Roses," a song about women in 1912 who protested for wage equality. (Alyssa Mosher/CBC)
The awards have been handing out since 1992, honouring women who are considered role models in their communities. Past recipients include Karen Wright-Fraser. 

Originally from Inuvik, N.W.T., Wright-Fraser moved to Yellowknife 21 years ago to get sober. 

Last year, she won the North Slave Wise Women Award for her dedication to traditional art and her positive voice for Aboriginal women. 

This year's recipients are:

  • North Slave: Karen Willy of Yellowknife
  • Beaufort-Delta: Pamela Faith Gordon of Aklavik
  • Sahtu: Patricia Modeste of Deline
  • South Slave: Sister Margaret Ann Beaudette of Hay River
  • Deh Cho: Harriet Geddes of Fort Providence 

The awards were handed out Saturday at the International Women's Day Bread and Roses Luncheon at the Tree of Peace Centre in Yellowknife. 

"I didn't realize when I walked into the door, I didn't realize this was big," said Patricia Modeste of Deline, after accepting her award for the Sahtu region. "Anything that I do and everything that I do, I always do it out of my heart and I really don't want to be recognized for that. Because what I do for others, I always feel that they need it more than me."

Modeste was one of about 70 people at the event Saturday. 

In Whitehorse, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation hosted a wellness fair to promote women's health and self-care.

Youth and women's groups were part of the fair.

"I just like to see Aboriginal women more involved and learning more about wellness and the wellness of our communities," said Viola Papequash, who helped coordinate the event. "Not just for us, but for our families and our children. Just to be able to live healthier in all aspects of ourselves … not just physically, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally."

Aboriginal smudging packages were among the products that will be given to participants at today's event in Whitehorse.